In Celebration of Pamela Adams, MBA ’98

October 18, 2017 • By UCI Paul Merage School of Business

On September 23, 2017, our friend, mentor and alumna, Pamela Adams, MBA ’98, lost her courageous battle with cancer. While we struggle to adjust to a world without her, we choose to celebrate the spirit of serving others that she has generously left behind.

Throughout her life, Pam always believed in paying it forward. As an investment manager and certified financial planner, she valued the guidance she received from mentors throughout her long, prosperous career. Her efforts encouraged other people, especially underserved youth, to seek out opportunities to become financially literate – and to discover the power of philanthropy.

And, she wasn’t one to just talk about philanthropy.  Pam put her time and money where her heart was.

Since graduating with an MBA from the Merage School, Pam dedicated herself to the School and was instrumental in helping us achieve national prominence and prestige. In 2005, together with then Dean Andy Policano, Pam helped found the Dean’s Leadership Circle (DLC), a premier business network for alumni and executives. That same year, as a result of her hard work and commitment, Pam was recognized and awarded a UCI Lauds & Laurels Distinguished Alumni Award as one of the Merage School’s most outstanding alumni. Up until very recently, Pam served on the DLC Advisory Board as a “Visionary” member, successfully building a tradition of giving among alumni that has been of noteworthy benefit.

In 2006, as a Founding Member, Pam helped launch the School’s Center for Investment and Wealth Management (CIWM).  She chaired the CIWM Community Programs and served on its Advisory Board, most recently as its co-chair.

Beginning in 2008, Pam served as a member of the Merage School Dean’s Advisory Board where she was a trusted consultant and instrumental in developing the Faculty/Senior Staff retreat programming. 

Just this past year, Pam endowed scholarships for young students to attend the LifeVest financial literacy program hosted by the CIWM. Because of her generous gift, a ninth- or 10th-grade student from an economically disadvantaged community will be able to attend LIFEvest each summer, free of charge.

For Pam, professional success and charitable giving went hand in hand. By endowing a financial literacy scholarship, she hoped to pass on her philosophy to the younger generation. She wanted people to learn to make philanthropy part of their life journeys, so that they give back along the way.

“Pam was a natural leader in every aspect of her life,” said Andy Policano, former dean and faculty director of the CIWM.  “She was an iconic role model for our students and we are indeed fortunate to have been the beneficiaries of her guidance, generosity and friendship. Because of Pam, we have improved the community around us and enabled others who are less fortunate to have the opportunity to succeed.”

Pam once said, “My goal is to teach financial literacy to the point where students will, ultimately, earn enough money and learn how to invest it so that they have more to give. And I want them to give with intention, so their philanthropy makes a positive difference as well.”

The Merage School is not the only beneficiary of Pam’s generosity. She shared much of her time and expertise with organizations focused on mentoring young people and supporting women in need.  Pam is a founding member of the Girls Inc. Guild of Orange County, a nonprofit serving girls in need. She was also an active member of the National Association of Women Business Owners of Orange County who named her “Member of the Year” in 2007. 

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to Pam,” added Sandra Findly, executive director of Development in the Office of External Relations at the Merage School.  “She has set the bar high and we are forever thankful for her dedication and commitment to making a difference in the lives our students and alumni, the people in our community, and in the lives of every single one of us who had the good fortune to know her.”

Dean Eric Spangenberg added, “Certainly, she will be missed.  Most definitely, she will be remembered.  Always, Pam Adams will be cherished in the hearts of the Merage School family.”

For community members who wish to, please honor Pam’s legacy by supporting the Dean’s Leadership Circle merage.uci.edu/DLCGiving.  All funds received on Pam’s behalf will be directed to a student scholarship.